Subject-verb agreement is a crucial aspect of grammar that ensures clear communication in any writing. When we talk about subject-verb agreement, we mean that the subject and verb of a sentence must agree in number. In other words, if the subject of a sentence is singular, the verb should also be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb should be plural too.
As a copy editor, knowing the rules around subject-verb agreement is essential to create error-free content that meets the requirements of SEO. Here are the key rules to keep in mind.
1. Singular subjects require singular verbs
When writing about a singular subject, use a singular verb. For instance:
– Mary runs every morning.
– The cat chases the mouse.
– He plays the guitar.
In each of the above examples, the subject of the sentence (Mary, the cat, and he) is singular, and the verb (runs, chases, and plays) agrees with it in number.
2. Plural subjects require plural verbs
Just as singular subjects require singular verbs, plural subjects require plural verbs. For example:
– The children play soccer in the park.
– The dogs bark loudly.
– The flowers bloom in the spring.
Each of these sentences has a plural subject (children, dogs, and flowers), and the verb in each case (play, bark, and bloom) is plural to match the subject.
3. Subject-verb agreement with compound subjects
If a sentence has a compound subject (two subjects joined by and), then the verb must agree with the plural subject. For example:
– Jenny and her brother love to hike.
– The books and pens are on the desk.
– The cake and the ice cream taste delicious.
In each of the above sentences, the subjects are joined by the conjunction “and,” making them compound subjects. Therefore, the verb is plural to agree with them.
4. Indefinite pronouns require special attention
Indefinite pronouns like everyone, anyone, someone, everybody, and each are singular and require a singular verb. For example:
– Everyone is excited about the party.
– Each of the students has a different schedule.
– Anyone can learn how to play the guitar.
On the other hand, indefinite pronouns like both, several, and many are plural and require a plural verb. For instance:
– Both the dogs and the cats are cute.
– Many people enjoy skiing during the winter.
– Several students failed the math test.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement is a fundamental grammar rule that must be followed when writing content for SEO. By paying attention to the number of the subject and choosing the correct verb form, you can create clear and error-free writing that ranks well on search engines.